In a statement sent to FoodNavigator-USA, brand owner PepsiCo said: “Quaker made the decision to discontinue the Oat Beverage product line. As the 142-year-old leader in oats, Quaker is always looking for new ways for people to experience their benefits, and they are committed to continuing to innovate within the foods and snacks categories across the full portfolio of brands?.”
While a flurry of brands piled into the oatmilk category early this year, Quaker was seeking to carve a distinct position in the segment?? with a product offering unique functional benefits.
Made with oat bran concentrate, which is high in ?the soluble fiber beta glucan, Quaker Oat Beverage – debuting in January 2019 – contained more fiber, less sugar and fewer calories than rival brands, and in tune with a larger brand revamp at Quaker, homed in on the heart-healthy benefits of oats with a picture of a heart on the front of pack.
Unlike other brands in the segment, which either describe their products as oatmilk, or highlight brand names more prominently, Quaker opted for the prominent term ‘Oat Beverage.’
As for taste, Koen Burghouts, global VP, nutrition group, at PepsiCo, told us in March?? that, “We tested this product multiple times with consumers for taste and texture and they are very satisfied with the smoothness and overall texture in all usage occasions.”?
So what – if anything – does the demise of Quaker Oat Beverage tell us about what works and what doesn’t in the emerging oatmilk category?
Greg Steltenpohl, founder and CEO of Califia Farms, which has launched oatmilk products in the retail and coffeehouse/cafe market,?? said he saw the Quaker product start disappearing from shelves “four or five months ago”? suggesting that it had not delivered on initial expectations.
While some industry sources argue that Quaker’s formulation wasn’t quite ready for prime time, the product’s lackluster performance may also have reflected a miscalculation on PepsiCo’s part as to what early adopters of oatmilk are looking for, speculated Steltenpohl.
Success in mainstream channels won’t come overnight for oatmilk
And while most observers agree that oatmilk could become a big category in plant-based milk, particularly in the foodservice channel, success in mainstream retail channels will not come overnight, he predicted.
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